Ecuador & Its Galápagos Islands with the Amazon 2016

13 Day Cruise from Quito to Quito

2016 Information. Switch to 2017 »

This exciting vacation lets you sample the natural wonders of Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands, and the Amazon Jungle. Enjoy guided sightseeing in Quito and have your photo taken at the “Center of the World.” You’ll also experience Otavalo in a unique way—explore its famous Indian market, where you can find beautiful textiles, artwork, and more, then on to a local hacienda to sample Andean delicacies. Before taking to the sea, visit the Giant Tortoise Reserve on the Island of Santa Cruz and the Charles Darwin Research Station, a highlight of this vacation. Then, embark on an exciting 4-night cruise among various Galápagos Islands. Have your camera ready as your Naturalist points out colonies of sea lions, pelicans, albatross, several species of Darwin’s finches, marine iguanas, flamingos, masked boobies, blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, storm petrels, short-eared owls, and other birds. You’ll even see abandoned WWII barges that are now important nesting areas for sea turtles on Santa Cruz Island. After the Galápagos, encounter a new set of flora and fauna in the Amazon. From Quito, fly to Coca and travel by canoe to your Amazon lodge for a 3-night stay that includes a rainforest canopy walk, a guided night tour, cruises through the flooded forest, and a visit of a local village and school. A remarkable adventure!


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Highlights & Sightseeing

Cruise: 4-night cruise in an outside stateroom cruising the Galápagos National Park aboard the Isabela II; Charles Darwin Research Station; guided sightseeing each day with a local Naturalist

Quito: sightseeing with a Local Guide; San Francisco Monastery, La Compania Church, Workshop & Museum of Oswaldo Guayasamin, and Equatorial Monument; welcome dinner

Otavalo: guided sightseeing of Otavalo; visit an ancient Indian market

Galápagos Islands Cruising: five days cruising the Galápagos National Park aboard the Isabela II; Naturalist-guided walks on each island; snorkeling and kayaking, expedition lectures on board; panga rides in the archipelago; visit Charles Darwin Research Station

Napo Wildlife Center in the Ecuadorian Amazon:
guided Amazon cruises and nature walks by expert Naturalists; parrot clay lick visit; canopy tower walk; nighttime dugout canoe excursion; visit a local village and school

Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by local chefs, entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.

Enjoy an Andean lunch at a traditional Ecuadorian Hacienda.

Meals

  • American breakfast daily
  • 8 lunches
  • 8 three-course dinners including a welcome dinner in Quito and a farewell dinner on board the Isabela II
  • Complimentary coffee, tea, water on board throughout the day
  • Complimentary wine with all dinners on board

NOTE: Maximum elevation on tour: 9,200 ft.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1Arrive in Quito, Ecuador

Welcome to Quito!

Day 2Quito

Included sightseeing showcases Quito’s treasures: the historic stone murals of the Legislative Palace, Independence Plaza and the 16th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, and the Jesuit’s LA COMPANIA CHURCH with its stunning golden altars. Next, see the impressive paintings at the WORKSHOP & MUSEUM of Oswaldo Guayasamin. Top off your day with a photo in front of the EQUATORIAL MONUMENT, the “Center of the World.” This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 3Quito. Excursion to Otavalo

An in-depth Local Favorite experience into the traditional ways of the Otavalo people is in store for you today. First, visit OTAVALO’S famous INDIAN MARKET, full of textiles, clothes, vegetables, and more. Next, in Peguche, famous for its exquisite weavings, you have the opportunity to visit homes and observe handicrafts being made. Finally, enjoy Andean delicacies prepared the traditional way at a former hacienda before returning to Quito. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 4Quito: Baltra–Galápagos Islands (Embarkation)–Cruising: Santa Cruz Island

Take a morning flight to Baltra, one of the remote Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival, transfer to the highlands of Santa Cruz, where your Naturalist introduces the island’s lush and vibrant landscapes. Visit the giant tortoise RESERVE, where you will see the famous Galápagos tortoises in their wild habitat. Next, see the Twin Pit Craters, great depressions of volcanic material formed by a long process of slow sinking of the ground, where exceptional Scalesia trees, ferns, mosses, and orchids can be seen in the surroundings. Continue to the CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION, established to help conserve the Galápagos’ natural habitat and protect the famous giant tortoises. While here, learn about the tortoise-rearing program and see many of the various islands’ tortoises. Later, board the sleek Isabela II for five days of CRUISING among various Galápagos Islands. Each day, travel ashore to the remote islands with your expert Naturalist, who introduces you to the unique fauna living free and fearless of man. On board the ship, join a briefing on the next day’s adventure, followed by a Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
NOTE: The ship’s itinerary may vary according to Galápagos National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, and seasonal changes to create the perfect cross-section of sites visited.

Day 5Galápagos Islands Cruising: Santa Fé & South Plaza Islands

After breakfast, join your Naturalist for an exploration of SANTA FÉ ISLAND with its large population of sea lions. As you walk through the opuntia cactus forest, watch out for the endemic land iguanas found here. Galápagos hawks, a variety of finches, and mockingbirds are commonly spotted, too. Snorkel, swim, or kayak from the beach before returning to the boat for lunch. This afternoon at SOUTH PLAZA ISLAND, wildlife includes sea lions, land iguanas, marine iguanas, hybrid iguanas (only found on this island and a result of a cross between land and marine iguanas), and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Also known for its prolific birdlife, you will see blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, frigatebirds, swallow-tailed gulls, Audubon’s shearwaters, and many other species. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6Galápagos Islands Cruising:North Seymour & Santa Cruz Islands

Disembark at NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND, where your Naturalist will point out colonies of blue-footed boobies, Magnificent and Great Frigate Birds, swallow-tailed gulls, and lava herons. The shores teem with sea lions and marine iguanas, and are a good spot for snorkeling. Alternatively, you can take a ride on the glass-bottom boat to view the colorful underwater world. In the afternoon, visit LAS BACHAS on Santa Cruz Island, where abandoned WWII military barges can be found. Today it is an important nesting area for the East Pacific green sea turtle. You will also see brackish lagoons just steps away from the sea and white-sand beach, which is a feeding ground for various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7Galápagos Islands Cruising:Bartolomé & Santiago Islands

At BARTOLOMÉ ISLAND, hike to the summit for a stunning view of two beautiful bays and fascinating formations of lava flows and spatter cones, including the iconic Pinnacle Rock. You will also have the chance to snorkel or cruise on the glass-bottom boat and possibly see Galápagos penguins in tropical waters, sea turtles, and even some sharks and rays! On SANTIAGO ISLAND, walk over the lava flows from less than 100 years ago and learn firsthand how pioneering flora and fauna adapt to the volcanic surroundings. End your visit with a swim off the beach with the playful sea lions. Tonight, join your ship’s captain at a farewell cocktail party and toast to a memorable vacation! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8Galápagos Islands (Disembarkation)–Baltra–Quito

After breakfast, head to the airport in Baltra for your flight to Quito, where you will have free time this evening. (Breakfast)

Day 9Quito–Coca–Amazon

Fly from Quito to Coca and travel by boat down the Napo River to a small tributary where you transfer to a DUGOUT CANOE for the remainder of your journey to your Amazon lodge. Floating along the narrow river, discover the Ecuadorian Amazon, the world’s largest remaining tropical rainforest, where more life hums, buzzes, chatters, and bubbles than anywhere else on the planet. One Amazonian tree can host more ant species than all of the British Isles put together, one hectare of forest boasts almost as many frog species as all of North America, and the great expanse of jungle contains more than 20% of the Earth’s vascular plant species. Here you can find a monkey small enough to sit on your fingertip, an 8-pound toad, a spider that eats birds, and the world’s largest snake—the 30-foot-long anaconda. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10Amazon

Early this morning, your Naturalist brings you to a parrot clay lick to see parrots, macaws, parakeets, and other species feeding. Continue with a walk through the jungle and learn of the medicinal plants and immense biodiversity that have been used by the native cultures for hundreds of years. Tonight, accompany your Naturalist on a night WALK or CANOE ride to discover creatures rarely seen during the day—you many even spot a caiman or two! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11Amazon

This morning, depart on a Napo River CRUISE through the flooded forest in search of the varied wildlife. Here you will have a good chance of seeing troops of squirrel, capuchin, and howler monkeys, and maybe even the incredibly well-camouflaged 3-toed sloth. Later, visit a local community, school, and village, and spend some time with the natives to learn about their culture and way of life. Finish your day fishing for piranhas or even taking a refreshing swim in the same waters—the less brave can send their guide in first. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12Amazon–Coca–Quito

Depart by canoe this morning in search of monkeys, giant otters, and rare birds on your return to Coca, for your flight to Quito. (Breakfast)

Day 13Quito

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Ship Details

Isabela II

Isabela II

Seeing the Galápagos Islands on board the 21-stateroom Isabela II goes beyond traditional cruising. It's an expeditionary approach that allows you to authentically discover and explore the natural wonders of this region. The Isabela II is built to luxurious standards and features an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to enjoy all that the Galápagos is famous for intimate contact with the wildlife! Delve into this unique world with the Isabela II's crew and expert Naturalists, who share their passion for nature and conservation of this mysterious part of the world. The Isabela II features a Jacuzzi, exercise room, outdoor lounge, and an observation platform for dolphin and whale watching on the top deck. The ship's dining room, lounge, and bar are elegantly appointed, as is the well-stocked library/reading room. All staterooms are outside and feature air-conditioning, private bathrooms, hairdryers, and safety deposit boxes.

Included Amenities

  • Friendly, English-speaking crew
  • Multilingual Naturalists
  • Stargazing program
  • Bar/Lounge and Sun Deck Bar
  • Reading Room & Natural History Library
  • Jacuzzi
  • Glass-bottom boat
  • Hydrophone and "splashcam" for exploring the underwater world
  • Resident physician
  • Cruise Director
  • Multimedia natural history lectures
  • Observation lounge
  • Gift Shop
  • Business center with Wi-Fi access
  • Snorkeling equipment including wetsuits (used June to December)
  • Sea Kayaks
  • Air-conditioned throughout
  • Cultural highlights on board

Staterooms & Suites

Classic Cabin - 139 sq. ft.
Features
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle
  • Individual climate control
  • Shower
  • Hairdryer
  • Internal communication system
  • In-room safe
  • Large mirror in bathroom
DECK PLANS

Hotels

Quito
Coca

Quito

Swissotel

Swissotel 12 de Octubre 1820 y Luis Cordero, Quito,  Ecuador 12 de Octubre 1820 y Luis Cordero
Quito, Ecuador

Hotel as shown or similar
Moderate Deluxe

This contemporary hotel is located in the commercial district of Quito, minutes away from historical Old Town. The hotel offers a wide variety of dining with six restaurants and two bars. Other features include a luxury spa, indoor and outdoor pool, fitness center, tennis and racquetball courts, beauty salon, gift shop, and business center.

Hotel Amenities

Gift Shop
ATM
Elevator
Parking/Valet
Dry Cleaning
Restaurant On-Site
Concierge desk
Spa Services
Currency Exchange
Pool
Bar/Lounge
Business Center
Shoe Shine
Beauty Salon
Fitness Room
Luggage Storage
Room Amenities

Mini-bar
Iron/Ironing Board
Air Conditioning
Television
Internet Access
Pay Movies
In-Room Safe
Complimentary Toiletries
Voicemail
Desk
Hair Dryer
Cable/Satellite
Daily Housekeeping
Phone
Room Service
Climate Control
Coffee Maker
Complimentary Newspaper

Coca

Napo Wildlife Center

Napo Wildlife Center Río Yaupi N 31-90 y AV. Mariana de Jesus, Coca,  Ecuador Río Yaupi N 31-90 y AV. Mariana de Jesus
Coca, Ecuador

Hotel as shown or similar

The Napo Wildlife Center, Amazon Lodge, is the ultimate alternative luxury eco-hotel in Amazonian Ecuador. Amenities include a restaurant, bar, two parrot clay licks, two canopy towers, boutique, library, Internet, and laundry service.

Hotel Amenities

Restaurant On-Site
Gift Shop
Bar/Lounge
Dry Cleaning
Room Amenities

Window Opens
Internet Access
In-Room Safe
Daily Housekeeping

 Optional Excursions

The following list of optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These optional excursions might or might not be offered. Whether it's a special dinner, a local show or a special behind-the-scenes glimpse into an historical site, optional excursions are a wonderful way to enrich your vacation even further. Plus, they give you flexibility. We include the must-see sites and experiences, and we also understand that people take interest in different activities and may want to craft a more personal vacation by hand-picking optional excursions that appeal to them.

We know that many times travelers celebrate special occasions on vacation and you can now pre-purchase celebration packages before your cruise departure. We offer special birthday, anniversary and wedding vow packages. These packages include all the elements you need to celebrate with family & friends.

Availability of optional excursions is subject to sufficient participation, weather conditions, seasonal suitability, days of operation, group interests, and general feasibility for your vacation. The approximate value listed gives you a good, general idea of what you can expect to pay but may vary once you are on your vacation. Some information provided might be in a foreign currency; to get an estimated price, use a currency converter for exchange rate information (pricing may vary at the time of booking).

Once you have booked your vacation, Avalon Waterways provides the ability to pre-purchase excursions and packages, register for your cruise and provide emergency contact information online.

Quito

Quito

Panoramic Quito by Night with Dinner (Private Excursion Only)

Panoramic Quito by Night with Dinner (Private Excursion Only)

Drive into the old Colonial city for views of the romantic plazas and the impressive public and religious buildings. Quito is particularly splendid in the evening when illumination adds a special drama and mystery to its baroque architecture. Then, to one of the hills surrounding the city for a panorama of twinkling lights covering the valley below. Enjoy a leisurely dinner at one of the finest selected restaurants of the city.

Approximate value: $140 USD per person

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